Away from my desk: and then back again ~ theatre notes

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Away from my desk: and then back again

Ms TN been making sad little meep noises all year about the increasing necessity to pull back on the blog and focus on my own work. Now, as the late, great Midnight Oil once had it, the time has come: for the next fortnight, circumstance will forcibly remove me from my desk. Next week I'll be in Sydney workshopping Night Songs, a music theatre piece co-written with Daniel Keene, with music by Andrée Greenwell, which was commissioned by Bell Shakespeare's Mind's Eye. The week after that I'll be at Victorian Opera workshopping Mayakovsky, an opera scored by my old partner-in-crime Michael Smetanin and commissioned by VO. I don't know why these two entirely separate projects should suddenly come to the fore at the same time, but maybe the universe is telling me something.

And after that, I really have to put my day job first. Next year Walker Books UK is reissuing my fantasy quartet The Books of Pellinor with funky new covers - I've seen the concept art and am very excited - and also some new copy, which I must write; and it's a chance for me to go through the early books and rid them of some minor infelicities. (Cough. Adverbs. Cough.) My forthcoming novel Black Spring, which is due out with Walker/Candlewick in 2012/13, is now at the fiddly stage of final edits. But top of my list is the need to start serious work on the mega-super-dystopian epic that has been knocking on the door for a year now.

These books are how I make my living, and give me the independence to do a number of things, including this blog. Right now I really have to give them the attention and energy they deserve. This doesn't mean that I'll abandoning TN, but inevitably things will wind down a little here. I'll still be posting the odd review - there are some upcoming shows at the Malthouse and the MTC that I'll be covering - but please note, companies, I'll be seeing very little before Christmas, and afterwards will be putting my own work first.

I'll be also taking some time out to think seriously about the future directions of TN: while it will always be theatre-focused, it seems to me that it ought to reflect my wider interests. Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed the description tag has changed to "arts commentary" in the recent redesign. It also occurs to me that I ought to make it clearer - even though it should be clear enough in my reviews - that I write criticism from the viewpoint of a practising artist.

While I'm on the personal: a plug for Boxman, Daniel Keene's new play premiering at the Big West Festival from November 16. It's a monologue written for the young actor Terry Yeboah, and is directed by Matt Scholten. It's a bit of a family affair, as our son Ben Keene is composing the music. As those who have seen the early readings will know, this will be something special. Very limited seating - it's in a tiny venue in Footscray - so book early. Details here.

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